In November 2017, Q-LNG Transport LLC awarded a contract to VT Halter Marine to build a first-of-its-kind (in the U.S.) liquid natural gas (LNG) articulated tug/barge (ATB) unit. The ATB consists of a 324'x64'x32'6", 4,000-cu.-meter barge and a 128'x42'x21' 5,100-hp tug.

Q-LNG, Houston, announced this week the successful sea trial of the Pascagoula, Miss.-based VT Halter-constructed LNG ATB unit. The vessel is underway for Elba Island, Ga., where it will load LNG, completing a series of proving trials.

This vessel is the first ATB unit to attain a DPS-1+ notation from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), Q-LNG officials said.

Shane Guidry, principle owner, Q-LNG, said in a statement, “We believe this vessel’s DPS-1+ notation raises the bar in safety, efficiency, and compatibility in the LNG bunkering market,” he said., “This is another moment in maritime history we are proud to be part of.”

DPS-1+ notation requires certain equipment, software, simulations, and studies be conducted to show the vessels capability to hold in a location utilizing reference points for vessel positioning. The rigorous review allows the vessel to operate without additional support in close proximity of other vessels. The Q4000’s DPS-1+ notation adds flexibility to deliver LNG fuel in open water and other conditions not accessible to vessels without this notation.

Upon successful gas proving trials, the Q4000 will be delivered to Shell Trading (US) Co. on a long-term time charter. Further innovations will be announced at that time.